As their 1,600-square-foot beach cottage in Home celebrates its 100th birthday, owners Kim and Jeff Robinson are living the dream.
“I’m happiest at home, in my garden and anywhere there’s water,” Kim said. “I just love everything here.”
Kim and Jeff were living in Gig Harbor when they purchased the cottage just over seven years ago. Their neighbor Bill Lloyd, an ordained minister, married them on the deck.
“I’ll never move,” said Jeff. “This is it.”
The Robinsons have spent the past seven years renovating their dream home. They built a deck, put up and tore down walls, added a master bathroom, and took the kitchen down to the studs. They put on a new metal roof, installed all new plumbing and electrical and added insulation.
“It was very cold in this house when we first moved in,” Jeff said.
They added ceiling beams, crown molding, vintage windows, shiplap walls and hardwood floors.
“We really wanted a house with character,” Kim said. “We just love the history of it all. Everywhere you look, there’s a story.” "Everywhere you look, there’s a story."
“Sylvia and George Allen were one of the three founding families in Home,” she said. “I believe their daughter built this house with her husband.”
A subsequent owner used to build wooden boats in a shop behind the cottage.
“Somebody told us the boat builder rented the room upstairs to people passing by back in the ’60s,” Jeff said.
Another former owner was local artist Marie Brown. The Robinsons found a wooden sign with her name on it that is now hanging in their carport.
“She was very well thought of in the community,” Kim said. “She was very artistic and had really great ideas for the house.”
Throughout the renovation, the Robinsons have faced a few challenges, such as dealing with tiles containing asbestos and figuring out how to store and organize their belongings.
“I don’t believe closet and storage space was valued in the 1920s like it is now,” Kim wrote on her blog, Shiplap and Shells: Home and Garden in the PNW.
Their kitchen is too small for a standard-sized island, so Kim built one by adding a butcher block to a vintage dresser.
The cottage’s former owners left several projects unfinished, including a door to nowhere on the second floor.
“It’s upstairs in our guest bedroom,” Jeff said. “It opens and there’s nothing there. You’d fall. I think they were going to put stairs there.”
When Kim was 10 years old, her family moved from Southern California to Bellevue. Eighteen years ago she moved to Gig Harbor, where she met Jeff, a United Airlines pilot who grew up in Las Vegas.
“This feels like a June Cleaver “Leave it to Beaver” kind of a community, you know. Everybody knows everybody. I’ve lived in places where I didn’t know my next-door neighbor,” Jeff said.
The Robinsons love sitting on their deck with their dogs, Lucy and Jax, talking to the neighbors walking by, and having a barbeque just to be outside.
“The view changes minute by minute,” said Jeff. “We’ve had seals go by. We’ve had sea lions. I’ve watched bald eagles knock birds out of the sky and carry them over to the swimmers’ platform over there and have lunch.”
In the front yard, there is a greenhouse where Kim grows flowers and veggies from seed, and a picket fence garden with raised beds.
“It’s a huge fresh cut flower garden in the summer. I love my dahlias. I have hundreds of dahlia bulbs,” Kim said.
Now that the cottage feels complete, Kim enjoys sharing photos, stories and ideas.
“I’m going to be in a few magazines. We have one coming up for my garden and a couple for the house,” she said.
“After seven and a half years of building our dream home, now we can enjoy it,” she said. “To be able to watch a Fourth of July parade from your deck while having a mimosa or breakfast, it’s just amazing.”
For more information, go to Kim’s blog at shiplapandshells.com.
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